Friday, November 22, 2013

Focused and happy

Hey hey Family O'Brien

I think that we are just about in the same boat with the letters getting shorter and more boring haha. I guess that just happens after a while?

All is going really great here. We are seeing a lot of progress in the area and now I feel a lot better about the division that is going to happen in the area. We hope to have it all ready so that when the new missionaries get here all will be ready for them to get working at 100 percent. They will have some good investigators with baptismal dates and lots of less actives to work with. Elder Garcia and I both are really excited for the progress that is seen in the area.

We are really excited for the baptism that is coming up this weekend. Esteban seems really happy and excited also. We are just going to go over the last few points this week and he will be all ready. It seems that a lot of investigators will attend also so Elder Garcia and I want to make sure it is a special spiritual experience for everyone!

Elder Garcia turned 21 this weekend. We had a nice cake with the Nuño family. It was a great cake that they bought. It was a chocolate cake with choco flan on top. Now you all know what I want for my birthday haha. 

One of the greatest experiences of this week was being in church. Nearly the whole week was really cold and slow but when Sunday came around we really saw the blessings of the Lord. 79 people came to church. We were really excited for that! 7 of those people were investigators also. The Lord truly is moving forward His work here.

Time sure seems to be flying by way too quickly. Right now I am working hard to finish all the goals I had set to complete before getting home. It is going really well. I feel really focused and happy right now. Hopefully Elder Garcia and I can keep this same pace going so that the branch will be ready to continue moving forward.

Thanks for everything! Love you all tons and have a great week! :)


Elder O'Brien

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Grateful for all the blessings

Hey there family! 

We had another really good week. Elder Garcia and I are really enjoying all the work and progress that we are seeing! There are a couple exciting announcements for this week!

Well first off, we had interviews with President this week. We were discussing the area, Presidente Camarillo, Elder Garcia, and I. President asked us if we could use another pair of missionaries in the area. We talked over it a while and we decided it would be a really great idea. I was a little hesitant about it though, thinking if there would be enough work in the area for two pairs of missionaries but with all the blessings that we saw this week I realized it was definitely meant to be. We were able to find many new investigators and less active members in what will be the area for the new missionaries and some even came to church! Church attendance has gone up every week this change. We got up to 67 people in church this week which makes us really happy. We were also able to set various baptismal dates for next month. We had set a pretty high goal and I was really glad that we were able to complete it! We completed nearly all our goals for this week. Those that we didn't we were just barely short. I was really glad to see the way in which the Lord blessed us!

We also have the baptism of Esteban coming up! We are really excited for him! We are also working a lot with his aunt Estefani who is 15 years old. They both are progressing really well but Estefani doesn't want to accept a baptismal date still. We saw Estefani's mom today while we were buying some stuff. Elder Garcia told her that I would be heading back to the states soon. Her mom then said to me, ''Well I guess that makes it hard for you to marry Estafani then?".  I won't lie, I think I got pretty red and I had no idea what to say haha. She was joking of course. I told my companion that I should have told her that I would consider it if she let her daughter get baptized. I of course thought of that too late! 

Ivan is doing really well. He received the calling to be the young men's second counselor. He seems really excited! We also started teaching his mom yesterday. She seems really receptive, we will just have to work out some of the challenges there.

Elder Garcia's birthday is this week. I am still trying to think what I will do for him. Hopefully the inspiration comes soon!

Overall we just had a really good week. I am really grateful for all the blessings that we are receiving from the Lord. I received a letter for my last two weeks here in the field. I really just hope I can complete in all that the Lord hopes of me in this time that remains.

May you all have a great week! Love you tons!

Elder O'Brien :)

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Time is coming down quickly

Hey there family! 

Well another week has passed by. It was another quick one with all the tasks that were done. 

Since it was the beginning of the month again we headed to Guadalajara for conference. I would say this was one of my favorites. It was nice being able to see the ways in which we can help our zones more and be better missionaries ourselves. Always on Tuesday night we have a devotional. It was pretty good. President asked me to give my testimony along with another sister missionary because this would be the last leadership council that we would attend. It was a good opportunity to share one more testimony with everyone. We were sure to get pictures with everyone also! Overall a good last conference.

On Friday we had the zone conference. I felt it was a really good one. From the zone here in Chapala, three of us are heading out the 28th of November. It was a good opportunity to get us together and share experiences one more time. We will all see each other as a zone for interview on the 12th once more.

As for the work here in Chapala all continues to go well. We have a baptism coming up on the 23rd. We are excited for him. His name is Estaban, one of those great kids who already turned 9 but never got baptized haha. We are meeting with him to get him all ready for baptism. He seems really excited though. We are hoping that Ivan will be able to baptize him. We will see how everything works out! :)

As far as the recent converts go they are doing really well. Ivan is getting ready to receive the priesthood next week. He also got a calling this week from the branch president. We still aren't sure what the calling is though. He is keeping it quiet haha. Liliane is enjoying her calling a lot also. She makes sure we get fed so she will take good care of us! ;)

We also did divisions this week. I got to work with Elder Garcia (other than my companion). It was another good experience to continue learning. 

One of my favorite experiences from this week was being able to fast. I felt like it was another great opportunity to look for ways to have the Spirit even more in my life. Testimony meeting was really spiritual also. Normally I like testimony meeting because it is the easiest Sunday to translate but this one was different. Everyone seemed to have really great experiences to share with everyone. It was a really strong Spirit as each stood to give testimony of Christ, His atonement, and the ways His atonement is shaping their lives. The attendance continues to go up each week. Many less active families are coming and show many desires to make the gospel and the church more of their lives. It is great to see the progress that is taking place here. I feel it is a great privilege to be a part of it. The Lord has greatly blessed me by allowing me to be here. 

May you all have another great week! The time is coming down quickly which at times brings me much sadness knowing that I will have to leave all these people but I know it will be another great opportunity for them and me to keep growing. The Lord is always allowing us to grow and I pray we may all take those opportunities. 

Love ya tons! Can't wait to see you!


Elder O'Brien :)

Sunday, November 10, 2013

We are seeing much progress

Hey there family! 

Well we have made it to the 22 month mark! How crazy does that sound? My companion also completed 9 months today. We are once again amazed by how quickly time goes by! I have been asked by many people lately how I feel now that the time is quickly winding down. I have answered, ''Well, normal''. Haha I still feel like I am just a normal missionary with the same expectation in the work. I feel very blessed that the Lord continues to bless me with the encouragement to continue focused on what I came to do here.

This last week was a pretty good one. It was rough in some ways but overall looking over the week we were truly blessed. We were not able to find many people at home this week. The great part was that we received many references from the members. A couple turned out to be a bit crazy or a bit weird but we are going to see what we can do to help them receive and live the restored gospel. One of those references, Rafael, went to church yesterday so he is looking a bit more promising! We hope all will go well so he can continue to progress. Liliane, our recent convert, gave us two references also. One family was not able to meet with us this week but they seem interested in listening! We also talked to her neighbor who just got out of jail two weeks ago. He is a really good guy and has great desires to follow Christ. He accepted baptism but not a date yet. He also found a job and had to work Sunday. That was a downer but we will go with them again this week to help them out a bit.

Also two references came to us from SLC. We were able to find one yesterday. She lives all the way at the end of the area, about 45 minutes on the bus from Chapala. She is a 25 year old single mom. She also works Sunday (another downer haha) but showed great desires to come to know the truth as we talked with her yesterday! We still have yet to get in contact with the other reference because he lives all the way at the OTHER end of the area, 1 hour from Chapala on the bus! (Notice we get to pass a lot of time on buses). In the reference it says that the person just moved back to Mexico and wants someone to go baptize him. We will be getting over there as soon as we can for sure to take advantage of that :)

This week we also got to do divisions with the Assistants. They were good. I missed my area though for sure. It was nice though to get back to Guadalajara for a while.

Once again leadership counsel has come! We are excited what changes we will be seeing as a mission! This will sadly be my last one so I decided I will have to find a way to make it count.

I have received a request to mention how the converts are doing here in the area. I am very happy to report that the branch is retaining 100% of its converts for this year! Nearly all now have callings! Liliane was called this week to be the Relief Society Secretary! She seems very excited and we are really excited for her. She will be in charge of who gives us lunch so we will for sure have lots of contact with her! Ivan is doing really well also. It appears that the branch president will be giving him the priesthood next week and he will be receiving a calling also! We are very excited for everyone! Many less active members are now reported as active so we know that we are seeing much progress as a branch here in Chapala.

We put a couple more baptism dates on the calendar this past week and we hope to be able to put even more this week! The work continues to progress and that is what excites me. We already know that this work will continue to progress and progress until the Lord comes again. The adversary tries and tries to impede it but it is not possible. We know who will win this battle and we can be part of the victory as we remain true to Him. It is a privilege to be a part of this work. I know we don't need to be full time missionaries to be a part of it. We are all part of the same work, we work to bring souls unto Christ that they might partake of His salvation. In whatever service we are called to give, as we work with all diligence, we are building the kingdom of God upon the earth. It is my prayer that we may all look for more ways to give even more in the assignments and callings we have. The Lord expects more of us and we must not fail Him.

I hope you all have a really great week! Remember I love you all and continue in fervent prayer daily for you all! Continue in the same one for another! :)


Elder O'Brien

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Big surprises

Dear Family,

Well another week has quickly come and gone! We had some pretty big surprises which made this week an interesting one for sure!

The week started off pretty well. We met with some less active members and we shared a message with them. Sadly their daughter got sick and they had to take her to the doctor on Sunday! Then Monday night we found out that the mission leadership training would be Wednesday morning in Guadalajara. That was quite an adventure figuring out how we would get everyone there because we had to take a district leader with us who lives two hours away. Overall we found the way to make it work out but sleep was the cost! Elder Garcia and I wake up nearly dead everyday. On the buses we are always dead asleep also. We have definitely learned how to use time wisely haha.

We hoped to schedule some baptismal dates this week but sadly those appointments didn't work out for many reasons, but we are ready to do it finally this week. The really great thing about this week was that we were able to find a lot of new investigators. I believe that all of them came from the recent converts from this year. We are really excited for their enthusiasm to do the work. Nearly all of the recent converts have now received a calling also! We are very very blessed here in the area.

One thing that really impacted me this week was in the conference when we talked about finding new people to teach. It was spoken that we should always be anxious to share the gospel with more and more people.We should always be ready to share a small message of our beliefs with others. That made me realize just how great the commitment to find people with whom to share the gospel is, not just a commitment as full time missionaries, but a commitment that we all make as we take upon us the name of Christ. All of us should be a witness of Christ in every place and every moment. This is the way the work of the Lord will continue. I was reading in Jacob 5 this morning and it teaches that this is the last time that the Lord will prune his vineyard and He has called His servants to help them. He has commanded us to work with all diligence in His work and He promises great blessings to those who are obedient to his mandates. 

Well I hope that you all have a great week! The Lord is greatly blessing us and we must always share those blessings with others! Love you all tons! Take care! :)


Elder O'Brien

Friday, November 1, 2013

Quite a miracle

Hey there family!

It sounds like all continue to do very well. The internet just went out on us and we had to go running to another place to write. I will try to give a good little letter to you all!

Well the baptism of Ivan went really really well! We started off a bit worried cuz Ivan and his family got there right when the service was about to start. The great part though was that his mom and his little brother were able to go and see also. Hna Liliane (his aunt who just got baptized a month ago) gave what I believe was the best talk on baptism that I have heard on my mission. It is amazing to see the ways in which the Spirit has allowed and helped her to grow in testimony and knowledge so quickly! My companion and I gave the special musical number. In Spanish it is the hymn called ''Brillan rayos de clemencia''. I am not sure which one that is in English but it worked out pretty well even though you all know I do not have the greatest singing voice! :) After the baptism Ivan gave a really great testimony. If someone from outside had showed up in that moment and heard his testimony I am sure they would have thought he had been a member for quite a long while. I am so pleased that I was able to see Ivan as he gained a testimony of the restored gospel of Christ and is now living it.

Another great thing that is going on right now is that the branch president is giving callings to all the less active members who have reactivated, and all the recent converts. It is really showing that this is working out really great for us because 72 people attended the sacrament meeting this week. That was quite a miracle for me because that is now the most people that I have seen in a sacrament meeting here in Mexico.

We also continue to find people to teach. We feel the Lord is blessing us more and more everyday and I just hope that I will continue more and more focused that I may always be worthy of his trust.

I hope Ashley really had a great time there at Homecoming! I know McKenzie is loving college also! I hope all are doing really well and just loving life. After all, the point of the gospel in our lives is to allow us to experience joy and peace in this life and eternal happiness after.

Have a really great week! Remember I love ya all tons! Thanks for all the support I receive from you all!


Elder O'Brien :)

Friday, October 25, 2013

Don't look back

Hey there family! Well another week has come and gone and just as we had all expected it was way too quick!

Leadership council was good. Long for sure! I'm pretty sure it was my last one though so we made sure to enjoy it! I'm sure I will include some pictures of the zone leaders there. This month the zone has the goal of 6 baptisms. We are looking over what we have right now and we feel pretty confident. It will just require the diligence, and spiritual sanctification as always. We are really excited also because Ivan will be one of those baptisms this upcoming Saturday. He came with us to the general conference yesterday and it is just obvious that he is super ready and chosen of the Lord! We are now just working out the final details so that everything will be ready for him. We are also working with his little brother Braulio and we are hoping that all of his family will open up a bit more to listen! Keep that in your prayers!

The zone training also went really well. Not too much to report there. There weren't many changes in the mission so we will keep up the good work that they told us we are doing!

I think this was one of my favorite general conferences! I really focused on only writing the things down that the Spirit said to me instead of just what the speakers said. I had about 2 or three bullet points for each talk but reviewing those points again today in the morning I could really see the ways by which the Lord spoke to me this conference and allowed me to see what I need to be doing to be better. I hope that you all enjoyed it a lot also!

Sounds like you all had quite the time getting everything ready for homecoming. Was it this weekend that just passed? How did Ashley enjoy it?

Haha I was actually thinking the same thing mom about the Spanish speakers. I said ''Wow, I sure hope I don't talk like that''. Haha. I get pretty good English practice here so I am sure I won't be too bad haha ;)

Overall this week was a really good one and I am glad that it went so well for all of you also! I know the Lord is blessing us very much. One thing that really stuck out to me from one of the talks was ''Don't look back''. I realized sometimes we get too comfortable in how we are for all the success that we have achieved. One thing we must always realize is that there is still MUCH work to be done. That is one thing we have for certain in this life is that the work will never be done until He comes again. We must continue to work with all diligence in what we have been called to do while the daylight lasts. May we remember that this is the greatest work in which we could possibly be engaged. I am so thankful I still have these weeks to continue my labor here and then I will be ready to continue to work in the next assignment to which the Lord calls me!

Have a great week! Love ya tons!

Elder O'Brien

Saturday, October 12, 2013

The Lord's promised blessings

Dearest Family,

Well Elder Garcia and I had another really great week. Well it started off really great at least! Our first couple days were really great! We went to the FHE that we had planned out. At first we were a little bummed out because nobody had showed up but right before we started we found out their family members who live next door had a son who is less active and the son's wife isn't a member. We invited them over but after a while it was starting to get late so we decided to start. But after about 20 minutes he and his wife showed up. We shared a really nice message about the ways that the gospel can and does bless our lives.Overall it was great and we set up another appointment with them. The son did listen to us but he told us that his wife preferred not to. That was a bummer but the great part was that on Sunday he showed up with the rest of his family which was really exciting! 

I think overall the greatest lesson that we had this week was with a less active member. She is a widow and is having a really hard time making ends meet right now. We had planned to teach her about the sacrament but in the moment as we were talking with her we felt it would be much better to speak with her about tithing. Wow, I had never had such a great lesson about tithing in my life! We explained the principle tithing and the Lord's promised blessings for us as we kept the commandment. She said to us that she already knew. She then continued saying, "But how do you expect me to pay tithing if we don't even have money to pay to eat, or the rent, or the light bill?" Truly that really hit me hard. In that moment we really felt inspired to explain the principle of faith. Wow was that great. Even greater was that she came to church that Sunday and in the class of gospel principles that we gave we talked about faith in Jesus Christ. She gave a great testimony to the rest of the people there about her experience with tithing and how she would now be paying because she knew that the Lord would bless her. That was one of those moments when you feel, I am doing my job. Her daughter who was becoming a bit inactive has been coming more often and we heard she was called as President of YW! Great time we are having with them.

We continue to teach Ivan! He is the nephew of Liliane, the lady how got baptized a few weeks ago. He came to church again with us, his little brother also! We hope that he will be ready to be baptized the week after General Conference! Speaking of that, crazy it's almost conference again right?!

Elder Garcia and I continue to work hard . Right now we are trying to find ways to work better with the ward and have more success. We talked with the Elders Quorum this week and we hope that it will work out the way that we planned so that they can do some visits with us! Really we have seen a lot of the work and growth within a ward depends firstly upon the members and their desires so we hope as we work with them more we can find that success we look for.

It sounds like everyone is doing really great back home. I hope that is the case! Know that I am doing really great and I am enjoying my time a lot! Can't wait to hear from you all! Have a really great week!

Love you! :)

Elder O'Brien

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A Great Baptismal Service


Hey hey!  Well here we keep moving along in Chapala, Jalisco. We had a really great week. Elder Garcia and I got back to the area on Tuesday really excited to visit the Sister Liliane. She had already gone to church about 5 times and we had a really good lesson for her to help her so that she would be ready for her baptism the upcoming Saturday. The coolest part was that we arrived to her and we started chatting a bit about how she was and what she learned in church the Sunday before. It was a fast Sunday and she said that she had really felt the spirit and that while she was listening she felt she had to get baptized. My companion and I were very surprised and even more happy. That made our job a whole lot easier! Well we got everything ready and she had a really great baptismal service on Saturday evening then on Sunday she was confirmed a member of church. She asked me to baptize her. I didn't realize how great it felt to be in those waters helping someone make that covenant with God. It really makes all the effort worth it when you can see the tender mercies of the Lord like that.

Elder Garcia and I also have some plans to start working with nephews and sister of Liliane. They are really great and seem to enjoy church a lot! We are really excited for them and we hope that in these next few weeks we can work diligently enough to help them make this covenant also.

This week we have a lot of family home evenings planned out. We are also going to go with a family member of some members. He went to church on Sunday and really seemed to enjoy it. He will be headed to another part of Mexico on Wednesday though but we hope we will quickly be back to keep teaching him. He is a really great guy!

I am really enjoying myself right now and I hope that the Lord is happy with my efforts. Elder Garcia is really helping me out a lot to keep focused on what I want to achieve here in the mission. We both feel that together we will have a really great change and we hope to help the zone rise up a bit more also.

Hope you have a great week! Know that I love you all and hope Ashley continues to enjoy school. McKenzie good luck. Mom and Dad keep working hard! Love ya tons!


Elder O'Brien

Saturday, September 14, 2013

On the road again

Dear Family,

It was really great to hear from you all. It makes me really happy that all are doing so well. The Lord continues to bless the family much.

It sounds like this week was no lack of excitement either. It truly does sound like Ashley is going to be liking this year of school a lot! Does she have a lot of hard classes for this year? McKenzie sounds like she is really excited to get classes started up again also! Does she have all her classes set up also? That is so great that everyone is helping you out so much after the surgery mom. How long did they say you will have to take it easy for?

Well this week was no lack of excitement for us here in Chapala either. On Tuesday I got to travel two hours to go to the district meeting in Tizapan. Then I headed another hour to the area of Sahuayo. It was a good experience to now know all the areas that are in our zone. In Tizapan I was with Elder Amaro. He is a really great Elder from Tamulipas which is right up by Texas.

Then on Friday we were off and traveling again. Nearly two hours to the area of Ocotlan. We did a baptismal interview there and then we headed off in divisiones again. I came back to Chapala with the Elder Shuster. I have known him nearly since I arrived here in Mexico also. He is a great guy! He is from California and he is just about to finish his mission also!

One great thing that we were able to do was go with Sister Liliani. She is the reference that we received not too long ago. She is progressing a ton! She now has gone to church 4 weeks in a row! She continues to surprise us with her desires to become closer to God! She will not be able to be baptized this week but we hope to have everything ready for the following week!

We also have an investigator who worked until midnight on Saturday but she was there on Sunday ready to go to church. The even greater thing was that she brought a friend. Today we are going to visit them again to continue explaining more.

I really liked the picture of McKenzie's birthday. She really seemed to enjoy that banana cream pie! I hope you (mom and dad) had a good anniversary also! A very eventful weekend!

May you all have a really great week! Keep having lots of fun and get well soon mom!

Love ya!

Elder O'Brien :)

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Sinking some teeth into the work

Dear Family,

Well this week was a really good one for both of us it sounds like! Lots and lots of work right? It sounds like all turned out really great back home and here as well.

Well this week we had interviews with Presidente Camarillo. They went really well. I always love the chance to talk with him. I feel that he just has a great way to make me feel good for the effort I am putting in but he helps me to realize that there are still many, many ways in which I need to improve. We talked a lot about the zone and the needs that it has. We talked about some ideas to improve and this week we have lots of good things that we hope to do!
We also started teaching one of the new investigators that I mentioned. Her name is Liliani. She is super great and super ready to receive the gospel. She said she felt a spiritual need in her life. She accepted the invitation to be baptized! We are really excited for her because we can just see how chosen of the Lord she was. She loves coming to church even though she lives pretty far away. She has now come 3 times. 

In church two new investigators came. They seem really cool also! We should be heading to visit them this week. I saw that they really liked the church so I am ready to start teaching them also. Things seem to be going really great with the investigators.

A couple of the less active families that we teach also came to church. I was really excited to see them also! Sadly the attendance was a bit down though because some of the active families were out of town, I think enjoying the last week of vacations.

Well another cool thing. My companion got bit by a dog. That was definitely an adventure. It was a dog that the branch president had barely adopted. It was pretty crazy. When it happened I was pretty sure I was going to be the next victim but it ran to another part of the house. We took my companion to the health center and we have to go every day for five days. No stitches fortunately! 

Overall it was a great week. I am very excited for this week. I know it will be another really great one! May the Lord bless you all in this week also! 

Love you all!
Elder O'Brien

Saturday, August 17, 2013

The Desire to Be Better

Well this is going to be a quick little card! It was good to hear from you all! I am glad that you are doing so well! Sounds like McKenzie had a really good time there is Hawaii! Can't wait to see my souvenirs! ;)

So this week was another pretty big adventure. All seemed to go really well. I have been out of the area a ton of the time. This week for 3 days I was out the area on divisions. That was super crazy. First I headed with the good Elder Ford to his area in Tizapan. He was in my district in the MTC so it was really cool being able to work with him for the first time. I haven't really seen him either since the MTC so it was great being able to spend some time with him. Then we got back on Wednesday and I headed out with the Assistants to do divisions with them also. I was then with them until early on Friday morning. It was a really good experience and I was glad for all the goals that we could set to keep progressing and be better.

On Sunday we had quite a few investigators show up again. It was really great! One is a young man named Ivan. I am really excited to work with him more. He's a great young man with a ton of potential! 

We continue to eat really well. On Friday we had breakfast for lunch. My companion and I left and we could hardly walk. Then Saturday we went out to eat in a restaurant down here. Then yesterday was pork chops with Idaho mashed potatoes (the box even said they were from Idaho) and some salad. Today we made some homemade hamburgers and french fries. Overall we haven't been going hungry! haha.

Tomorrow are the interviews with President. I am excited to talk again with him. Every time we get to speak I always leave with the desire to be even better and work that much harder. I am sure this experience will be no different.

Sorry I haven't sent any pictures from here. Today I forgot my camera but lately we have been so busy that I haven't even thought about taking pictures. I will try to get some in next week though to send.

Thanks so much for the support. As it was thought I will be heading home the 28th of November. President said. I am excited to see you all but I'll have to work that much harder these last months. I pray that I can consecrate myself even more to the Lord and His work in these weeks.

Love you all! Have a really great week!


Elder O'Brien :)

Saturday, August 10, 2013

From Chapala with Love

Dear Family,

Hey hey! Well I forgive not being able to hear from you all cuz it looks like you all had a ton of fun in Oregon! But I ask myself, why didn't we ever do things like that while I was still home? ;) Haha just kidding!

I'm so glad all is going well for you all! It looks like the girls are growing up a lot! Ashley tells me she's just about as tall as McKenzie now! That is pretty incredible right? Mom is now the shortest right? :)

Well this week went really well! I can't believe we are in August already! Time seems to just keep flying! This week seems to go especially fast. We were super busy and sadly we couldn't work too much. We were in Guadalajara for two days for the leadership council meeting. It was pretty interesting I have learned a lot being a Zone Leader, and I am really enjoying it. We talked about all the things we need to improve as a mission and what we should share with the zone in the zone training on Friday. From Friday until Saturday I went to Ocotlan. It is about 2 hours from my area. There I was on divisions with Elder Winegardener. It was really cool cuz he was one that got to Mexico at the same time I did. Tomorrow we will also do divisions with Elder Ford who was in my MTC district so that will be great also!

The food here has been great.  One sister said she was going to make us pork chops with mashed potatoes and gravy! I can't wait until we go with her to eat!
What else has been going on? Well we got two really cool references this week. Some members from Mexico City came to church and brought some family members that they have here. They seemed to enjoy church and we are excited to be able to work with them. Also on Friday when I wasn't here we got another reference. My companion says she is really cool also so we'll be praying all goes well!

I have been super tired lately so I will need some more sleep I guess. I think it is because of the weather change. It was so hot in Nueva Italia, and here it can get a little chilly. Just imagine if I would have gone from Nueva Italia then back home. I am pretty sure I would have died haha.

Well I hope you all have a great week! Keep up the great work! Tell McKenzie to be safe in Hawaii. I hope you all know I love you a ton! Take care!


Elder O'Brien

Monday, August 5, 2013

Same Gospel in Any Language

Hey Family! 

Well this was a really good week! I now have my first week down in Chapala. So far Chapala is my absolutely favorite area! It is so great here! You'll all have to look it up once you get back from the coast! Chapala, Jalisco, Mexico. First off it is pretty much a retirement place for older Americans because the weather is absolutely amazing. It is warm for sure but nothing compared to how Nueva Italia was. 

First off because there are lots of older Americans, there is a lot of really good American food! I don't think I have eaten so well in a long time. This week I definitely realized just how much I missed American food! I think the transition back to American food won't be too rough for me. ;) I mean I love the Mexican food but after eating this week I'll stick with anything the Americans here give me!

Second, because there are a lot of Americans, there are a lot of people who don't speak Spanish. With a lot of the members we speak English in their houses. It was kind of weird when I first got here and it was a little rough to speak English again but after a couple days it felt pretty natural. Another thing that is pretty awesome is that the services here are in both Spanish in English. There were about six people in church for whom I had to translate. That was definitely an interesting experience. It was pretty rough because the speakers talk really quick and while they are speaking I have to listen and say out loud in English what they are saying. This week I feel like I did okay but thankfully I will still have a couple more weeks to keep practicing. 

Well Chapala is also a branch. It looks like the Lord just loves sending me to the branches right? I now have well over a year in branches so it will serve me well here now that I have some experience.

The other extremely cool thing here in Chapala is that a family has a store of used things and so they gave us a washing machine that we have in the house. Oh my gosh. I have never been so happy for a washing machine in my life! It is seriously the biggest luxury! It takes out a lot of time that we spent on P day washing. 

We have a family that we are teaching right now. The son we feel will be ready to be baptized this week! I hope all goes really well for him and we will have to be working a lot with him this week so that he will be ready!

Other than that everything else is pretty much the same. Same gospel, same message, same Elder O'Brien. I am really excited to be here in this area and I continue to pray that the Lord will help me have just a part of His Spirit that will take this message to the hearts of all the people here in Chapala. I am so glad that I have this opportunity to serve. 

May the Lord continue to bless you all! I hope you all are enjoying the coast! Can't wait to hear from you all next week!


Elder O'Brien

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Build the Kingdom of God

My Dearest Family,

I don't know what happened to the chat today. I think something was up with the internet in the store or here in the cyber but either way it was great to hear that you all are doing so great!

It was another super quick week! I feel like every week just goes faster and faster! We had the Zone Training this week which went really well. Presidente Camarillo came also which was nice being able to see him. We talked a lot about in what we should be focusing on right now. One thing that we are all working very diligently in is the Book of Mormon. I truly believe that one who reads the Book of Mormon and receives an answer that it is true through the power of the Holy Ghost will never be able to deny that testimony and witness they have received. I believe this witness and testimony is fundamental to find peace and joy. Until we come to know that the Book of Mormon is truly the word of God and a true book, we can not feel that peace and comfort. As I continue to read from it every day I can truly feel and know that the Book of Mormon is true. I invite all to continue to read from its words everyday that they might find the joy that comes from it.

Another thing that we are really focusing on right now is how to find people to teach. Lately it has been pretty dry here in the area with references. We have received a couple references but they don't seem to want too much with us. They listen but really don't show too much interest. We found a couple of my old investigators and they look like they are ready to listen again! I hope we will be able to help them receive this gospel. 

We have been watching the worldwide broadcast a lot! I really liked it. It shows very well how we should work together to build the kingdom of God. Here is the link if you would like to see it again.

I am doing really well. We have the conference talks finally from the general conference and there are a lot of great things to share with from there. I would definitely suggest reading through all of those again! 

May you all have a great week. Take care of each other and don't let mom get sick again eh! Haha. I am glad to hear that you are better now mom but take special care this week!
Love you all!! 


Elder O'Brien

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Home cookin'

Dear Family!

Well it was another really good week here in the mission. Wow did it go by super fast! Well I officially hit the 18 month mark. It was pretty wild to think of that but it is already here! It has been a good 18 months and I am really eager to work hard for what I've got left!

One cool thing that we did this week was that we had the zone conference. We talked a lot about repentance and I really liked what we talked about. I feel that should be our biggest message to the world, that we are all in a fallen state and have the need to repent and return to our Lord. All of our message is centered on Jesus Christ and that through Him we can become clean of sin. The rest of our message is to let us know by what means and the need we all have to do it.  As we have been studying lately I have seen how great the blessings are for those that repent and come unto Christ.

Today was a really good P day. We all got together here in Apatzingan and we played futbol for a while. Once we couldn't take the heat anymore we headed into the kitchen to make some traditional food from our homes. Of course I had to make mashed potatoes! I didn't really have anything to mash them with but everyone said that they turned out really good. They just needed a bit of salt but I feel it was pretty good for my first time making them alone! ;)

We found a couple new investigators this week. They are the son and daughter in law of our convert. The wife said that the missionaries had already gone to teach her family also (who happens to live just a couple houses away) so hopefully that means we will have even more people to teach! She also has some family members in Utah so that will make things even greater! 

Well I hope you all have a great week! It sounds like you are all working extremely hard but I know that you are seeing the blessings for all that you do! Love you all!


Elder O'Brien :)

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Key to Our Conversion

My Dearest Family,

Well it was another really good week here in the work. All seemed to go really well! I apologize again for not being able to write much last week but I will have a bit more time this week! 

Well one cool thing that happened to start the week off was that we went to visit a less active member that we hadn't even visited. They received us well and we had a nice little lesson. There were also two little neighbor girls there and we went to meet their families also! Both the families agreed to receive us and we were able to teach one of the families this week. Tomorrow we will teach the other. It was definitely a great blessing of the Lord! 

A cool thing that we were able to do for P day today was go with our recent convert and some other members out here on a little hike. It was awesome because we were able to see all of Nueva Italia. It was good that they could all get to know each other a little better also! I sent to pictures also so hopefully they got to you!

I continue reading the Book of Mormon and I have gotten to Helaman finally. After reading it over again I still continue to feel the power that comes from the Book of Mormon. It is the key to our conversion, reading and applying its teachings. I know as we read and ponder upon its words daily the Lord will bless us in so many ways. With knowledge, testimony, and strength.

Rafael and Jorge continue to do well. We taught Rafael about the priesthood this week and he seemed to understand really well. It was great and made me very happy. He is already in 2 Nephi again. Do you all think that you can keep up with him and his diligence in reading the Book of Mormon? ;)

The conference yesterday was extremely good. I felt good knowing that our mission was one of the pilot programs for it and now it is applying in all the world! It has been quite the experience. Rough, but forever worth the fight!

I hope you all have an extremely good week! Never forget that I love you all! 


Elder O'Brien :)

Saturday, June 29, 2013

We Baptized!

Hey Family!
Sorry that I don't have much time to write this week but this week went really well! Well guess what...we did baptize this week! :) It was truly really great! I was very happy for Jorge and Rafael! They both seemed to really enjoy it and I hope it was a really good experience for them! It really felt great to see loved ones make those covenants with Heavenly Father.
Right now we are in Guadalajara. We traveled all the way here last night and we had to get up early to sign our visas. I didn't want to walk around illegal any more haha. Afterwards we went to a buffet call Sirloin.  It was a bit expensive but SO SO worth it! I had wings, mashed potatoes and gravy, soft serve ice cream, brownies. I was sad that my stomach has become small and I couldn't get more down after 3 plates but oh man it was good! :)
Right now I am going to head back to Nueva Italia but I just want to let you all know that I love you and thanks for all your prayers and support. I can really feel your help always. Oh I got your package also! I have yet to open it but thank you all so much! There is truly many things I have been grateful for in these days!
God bless you all and have an amazing week. Miss you loads but love ya more!
Elder O'Brien

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Strengthening our Testimony

Dear Family!

Well it was another really good week here in the mission! All seemed to go pretty well which made me really happy! It was definitely a tiring week cuz it is starting to rain a bit so it is hot and humid! It is definitely a killer combination! All seems to be going really well though which is awesome!

I think what we are looking forward to more than anything this week is the baptism on Saturday. All seems to be going perfectly up until now. We will definitely be praying and fasting for Jorge and Rafael a lot this week! I think I have already mentioned it but Rafael read the Book of Mormon and the whole Index in a month! He was later to give very strong testimony to his family about the divinity of the Book! We are very excited for the decision he has made along with his grandson!

One really cool experience I had this week came from Preach My Gospel. I was thinking about how it says we should often be strengthening our testimony about the Book of Mormon and Moroni´s promise in Moroni 10:3-5. I decided to do that again this week after one of my personal studies. I did exactly what we ask our investigators to do. I asked of the Lord if what I had read was true. On this occasion I was able to feel that same answer through the power of the Holy Ghost that the Book of Mormon truly is the Word of God. It contains the fullness of the Gospel of Christ and is more correct than any other book over the face of the earth! Such power is within that promise of Moroni and I know that is it true!  I have experienced for myself its power. 

One of my other favorite experiences of the week was last Tuesday when I went on divisions with the Elders in Apatzingan. We went with a young woman who just started listening to the missionaries and she told us when we arrived that she wasn't sure if she wanted to keep listening to us.  We started to ask some questions about God and we began to testify of the Restoration of the Gospel. I can truly say I felt the power of the Holy Ghost work through me as I testified of the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith. It was amazing to see the change in her, and her interest to listen increased as we shared all this. There is power in this message!

Scary story. Yesterday we went to a little ranch just outside of Nueva Italia to visit the members there. It was to our surprise that there were many transvestites there when we got out. I have seriously never been so scared in my life. They were walking by us, giggling, and making comments about us. We got out of there quick for sure! I'm pretty sure we'll take a little break from going over to that neck of the woods!

Well I continue here in my area of Nueva Italia with my companion Elder Guillen. I hope that we will be able to have much success in these weeks and throughout the change! 

Keep prayerful and hopeful. I hope you all have a great week! 

Love you all!
Elder O'Brien

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Preparing for Baptism

Hey Family!
From the looks of it you all had a really good week! It makes me very happy to hear that you are all doing so well! :)
This week was a really good week! I felt like we were able to work well and hard! We truly had a miracle this week that happened while I was on divisiones so I couldn't be there to see it but it had to do with one of our investigadores. He is 77 years old and didn't really seem interested at first about the church so I just kind of put him aside. Then, a miracle happened. My companion shared with me that they were talking to the family when mom had a few problems accepting the idea of baptism. Then the older man began to testify of the Book of Mormon. He was able to teach from the Book of Mormon to help her overcome her problem. I thought it was the biggest miracle that the Book of Mormon could have such a great effect on the life of one man. I truly know that ANYONE who reads it and asks the Eternal Father if it is true with real intent can receive an answer from God that it is. This man was able to testify of it to his family and now he is preparing for baptism on the 15th of this month. Keep praying for him so that all can go well! :)
We had our zone training this week and I got to share part of it. I shared about how we can find more people to teach. I shared a lot about the importance of inviting the Spirit in our lessons and helping the members and investigators feel the need to share this message with others. It is amazing as we learn more about the redemption that comes from Christ in our personal lives, our desires to share the gospel with others increases. I have seen it here in the mission frequently. As I read in the Book of Mormon about the saving grace and misery of Christ I feel that necessity to share with everyone I know the joy that comes from feeling free of everything. I know that through Christ's atonement we can feel such peace and have all that is bearing down on us lifted from our shoulders.
I have been extremely busy and am very tired! It is good though. I feel that I am really putting in a good effort! It is really all worth it when I can see those investigators and less active members in church on Sunday and the changes in them that I am able to see! It makes it all worth it at the end of all. I was thinking a lot about Tepa, my last area. Wow was that the hardest thing ever but now I miss it so much! I could see the biggest change in Tepa and I am so glad that I could serve there also!

I pray that you all have an extremely good week! I know that God lives and loves us.  Never let something you do impede you from receiving His blessings!
Have an amazing week!
Elder O'Brien

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Diligence and Humility

Dear Family,

Well this week was quite the experience! We definitely had quite the adventure the whole week!
Like I mentioned in my last letter I had the chance to listen to Elder Christofferson in Guadalajara! It was really awesome to be able to listen to him and hear his words (which were in Spanish! did you all know he speaks Spanish?). I could really see that he came to teach us exactly what we need to be doing here to be able to have success as missionaries in these missions in Mexico!

We also had interviews with President Camarillo this week! I really enjoyed it to see how I can improve so that I will be able to help even more people every week! He gave me some really good tips and I could see that as I prayed and applied them throughout the week just how much that the Lord could help us in our area!
One blessing that we could see is that a sister who got baptized over 20 years ago came to church for the first time in over 15 years! She also brought her grandchildren with her. We also hope to be able to work with one of her daughters to help her progress in the gospel also! Overall it was a great blessing of the Lord!

We were also able to help a new family come to church this week! It was really awesome cuz they enjoyed it at lot! We hope that they will be able to be very prepared for their baptisms in a couple weeks! It should be a really great experience! This upcoming week we also have zone training! I hope that I will be able to learn even more!
One thing we have been talking more than anything about is the power of prayer, the Book of Mormon and its power in the conversion, and the commitments that we leave with the people. I have been studying the power of these 3 things. As we truly commit ourselves to study the Book of Mormon, truly thinking in what it says and teaches, then we apply those principles to our lives we can truly see miracles. I am reading through the Book of Mormon over again and I currently am reading in Alma. It is amazing to see how many things that happened anciently still happen to us in these days! I am so thankful for the Book of Mormon and the guide that it is for me! Prayer also gives us so many blessings! It gives us direction to what we should do in our lives. It is the way by which we may communicate with our loving Heavenly Father! I know He will truly give us anything righteous that we ask as we put in our part to receive it and we are worthy of what we ask! As we commit ourselves to complete these 2 actions the Lord is able to work miracles in our lives!
We are very excited for the progress in our area right now! We look forward to putting many baptismal dates this week! June should be quite a miracle month for us here! I hope with our diligence and humility our righteous desires will be made reality!
Thanks for all the support from everyone! It is great to hear from you all! It is great to see the ways in which the Lord is blessing you all!
Love you all! Have a great week!
Elder O'Brien :)